Many college students use drugs in a way that contradicts their college’s drug policies and New Jersey law. Marijuana, prescription medication, and other illicit drugs are common on college campuses, but people who possess, use, or deal these drugs could be arrested, expelled, and sent to prison on drug charges.
If you are a Rowan University student that was charged with a crime involving drugs in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our NJ attorneys for Rowan University students accused of drug possession may be able to help you with your drug possession case and fight to get charges dropped or dismissed and keep you in school. For a free legal consultation, call our law offices today at 609-616-4956.
Drug Possession Laws in NJ
As in most states, drug possession is illegal in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10 criminalizes not only possession of drugs, but also personal use of drugs. Under this statute, you can be charged with a crime for knowingly having drugs in your possession – typically called “simple possession.”
The legal definition of “possession” includes two types of possession: actual and constructive possession. Actual possession means that you have the drugs on your person. This can cover possession where you have the drugs in your pockets, in a backpack you are wearing, or literally in your hands. Constructive possession refers to when you own something, but it is not on you at the time. This would include having drugs in your dorm or your car; you still own them whether you are present or not. Either type of possession can lead to charges.
If you possess a large quantity of drugs or it is apparent that you have drugs with the intent to sell or deliver them to someone else, you could face more serious charges. “Possession with the intent to deliver” (PWID) charges come under N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-5(a)(1). This statute covers both actual delivery or sale of drugs as well as possession without actually selling or delivering the drugs.
Police commonly prove that you had the intent to distribute drugs by looking at the surrounding circumstances. For instance, the following circumstances usually show that your drugs were for sale rather than for personal use:
- You had large quantities of drugs.
- You had large quantities of cash or various denominations of bills to make change with.
- You had a gun alongside the drugs.
- You had scales, individual baggies, and other items for weighing and sorting drugs for sale.
- The drugs were pre-sorted into individual amounts for sale.
- You did not have any paraphernalia used to take the drugs yourself (e.g., rolling papers, pipes, syringes).
- You had multiple pagers or cell phones.
Police can also point to specific evidence of anything you did or said that made it seem like you were going to sell the drugs. Because of this, it is important not to give police any statements about the drugs and to ask for a lawyer.
Penalties for Drug Possession Charges
Drug possession charges change their penalties based on the drug you possessed. Carrying more dangerous drugs is a more serious offense, with possession of marijuana typically being a lower-level offense than possession of heroin or cocaine. Moreover, the amount you possess also changes the penalties in some circumstances.
Schedule I, II, III, or IV Drugs
Schedule I, II and III drugs include most illicit drugs and commonly abused prescription medications such as cocaine, heroin, MDMA, crystal meth, Percocet, Xanax, Vicodin, Ritalin, and Adderall. Some other prescription drugs are Schedule IV drugs. All “narcotics” are included in these schedules.
Simple possession of these drugs is a third degree crime with 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $35,000.
Possession with the intent to deliver charges are graded at various levels for different weights of drugs. For different drugs, the concentration is different, and the cutoff weights vary widely. For instance, the highest cutoff for cocaine is 5 ounces, but the highest cutoff for LSD is a mere 100 milligrams (approximately .0035 ounces). These penalties range across the following options:
- A first degree crime punished with 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $500,000
- A second degree crime punished with 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000
- A third degree crime punished with 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $75,000
Schedule V Drugs
Schedule V drugs commonly include some prescription cough medicines and other drugs for digestion or pain relief. Many of these are over the counter drugs, but possession of a Schedule V prescription drug without a prescription is still a crime. For simple possession, this is a fourth degree crime punished with up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $15,000. For PWID, the crime is a fourth degree crime punished by up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $25,000.
Call Our Rowan University Drug Possession Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you were charged with a drug possession crime in South Jersey while attending Rowan University, call our New Jersey attorneys for Rowan University students accused of drug possession today. The attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to fight the charges against you, fight disciplinary hearings at school, and work to keep you out of jail. For a free legal consultation, call us today at 609-616-4956.